Churches launch monthly community lunch

Cindy Copp (left) and Jacque Knapp stir soup for the first community lunch, held Jan. 22 at the Wellsboro Teen Center on Brewery Lane.

WELLSBORO — Local churches are organizing to hold a free community lunch once a month, with the goal of doing it weekly.

Members of the Wellsboro Ministerium held the first free community lunch on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Wellsboro Teen Center at 1 Brewery Lane, at the intersection with Water Street. The menu included two types of soup, sandwiches and dessert, along with hot and cold beverages.

The meal is free and open to anyone in the community, but is targeted to serve those in need, said Carl Linscott, pastor of the Wellsboro Teen Center. Organizers hope that anyone who needs a hot meal will take advantage of the monthly lunch.

“We are called in the Bible to love people and help them in their time of need,” said Brett Kennedy, pastor of the Vineyard Church, which will be providing the meal and staff for the Feb. 19 lunch. “Most of our congregations want to reach out and let people know that someone loves them, cares for them and supports them.”

The idea initiated from the Wellsboro Teen Center, led by Pastor Carl and Rachel Linscott. People in the community may not have the option of a hot meal everyday and this could help that population, said Carl Linscott

“Some people I know have been wanting to do something like this for some time,” he said. “…Since I run the teen center, we thought it would be a good location for something like that since it is already a 501©3 and has a kitchen. It made it easy to do.”

Initially, the lunch will be offered once a month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday with one exception. During Lent, because of the Lenten lunches organized by the Wellsboro Ministerium, the free community lunch will be moved to the third Thursday, March 18.

It is being advertised at local food pantries, apartment complexes, the county Department of Human Services and at the Tioga County Homeless Initiative.

In addition to food, visitors can chat with volunteers and pick up spiritual material that will be available.

The goal is to increase the frequency of the lunches, as organizers determine the need, find start-up funding and secure volunteers. By the end of the year, the meals could be offered two or more times a month, said Linscott.

Food donations and volunteers are needed for the lunch. To volunteer or donate food or funds, call 470-439-3185 or 570-439-3926.